Self-Compassion - Intermediate Low

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes: Students will identify examples of self-compassion, recognize ways to be more self-compassionate, and practice self-compassion. Language Learning Outcomes: Students will review vocabulary about the topic, listen for major details and vocabulary in context, use “I would” hypothetical language to talk about themselves, and rewrite negated sentences into positive sentences.

Lesson Information

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. identify examples of self-compassion. 
  2. recognize ways to be more self-compassionate.
  3. practice self-compassion.  

Language Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. Review vocabulary about the topic.
  2. Listen for major details and vocabulary in context.
  3. Use “I would” hypothetical language to talk about themselves.
  4. Rewrite negated sentences into positive sentences.

Materials Needed


Self-compassion is the ability to treat ourselves as we would treat a dear friend who is having a hard time. Self-compassion soothes the negative and grows the positive, therefore it is key to coping with personal limitations while keeping a positive mindset and attitude. Tell students that in this lesson they will learn how to be kinder and nicer to themselves, especially when learning a new language.

definition retrieved from:

Activate Background Knowledge

Go over the following words and examples with students. Afterwards, have the students think of their own example sentences in the context of their experiences learning English.  

comfort (v): to make someone feel less worried, unhappy, or upset, for example by saying kind things to them

  • Maria comforted Sammy when she was sad. 

compassion (n): a strong feeling of sympathy for someone who is suffering, and a desire to help them

  • Sara has compassion for Diego who was crying. 

kindness (n): being friendly

  • Diego thanked Sara for her kindness. 

treat (v): behave toward or deal with in a certain way

  • We should treat people with kindness. 

kindly (adv): with kindness 

  • The old woman spoke kindly about her grandson. 

bully (v): to say or do unkind, rude, or mean things to someone 

  • Yuri bullied Stefano by calling him stupid. 

sympathy (n): the feeling of being sorry for someone who is in a bad situation

  • Yuki showed sympathy for Stefano by hugging him. 

Activity 1: Listening/Speaking

Play the following video:

Self-Compassion: Be Kind to Yourself 

After watching the video, ask students to share the examples of vocab words and examples of self-compassion they noticed in the video.

Activity 2: Speaking

Use the powerpoint to show examples of stressful scenarios.  With each picture have students list what emotions the person might be feeling (ex: confused, overwhelmed, embarrassed, worried, bored, tired, stressed, etc.)

  • Self-Compassion
  • Ask students to imagine themselves in those situations.  What would they do to overcome those negative emotions?  Use “I would…” hypothetical language.  
    • Ex: I would make a plan of everything I need to do.
    • Ex: I would ask a friend for help.

Activity 3: Speaking

Talking back to negative thinking -- rewrite negative sentences to be positive.

  • Ex: I can’t learn this language. → I can learn this language.  If I keep practicing, I’ll learn it well enough to communicate what I need to.  I have classmates and teachers who want to help me.
  • Invite students to write down a few of their fears and doubts (about language learning or anything else in their life).  
  • After writing down negative sentences, ask students to speak the positive version (take out the negation) with a partner.  
    • (Students may benefit from writing down their new sentences before speaking them)


Option 1: Speaking Prompt

Ask students to respond to the following quote:

“You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and kindness”- Shauna Shapiro.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement by Shauna Shapiro?  Why or why not?  Support your opinion with specific examples and reasons.  

Option 2: Have students practice rewriting negative thoughts.  Every time they notice a negative thought about themselves, have them practice saying something positive about themselves instead (they can say these new thoughts out loud to practice their speaking).



Invite students to share their experiences and discuss how kindness and self-compassion are helping them be happier in their lives. Have students talk about how they felt when writing a compassionate letter to themselves, did they feel relieved, happier, comforted? Praise students when they talk about their feelings with this experience. 


Ask students to discuss what the following quote means to them. Highlight any comments related to self-compassion and kindness. 

“You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and kindness”- Shauna Shapiro.


After a couple of days, have students talk and share their experiences with self-compassion. Are they doing the things on their list? Praise students when they talk about examples of self-compassion and kindness.

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